Type 1 diabetes providers and staff | Norton Children’s
Living with Type 1 diabetes touches every aspect of a person’s life — children, teens and their families learn to manage and live with the condition. Many with Type 1 diabetes found their way to careers in health care as a way to give back to the Type 1 community. Many providers and staff members at the Wendy Novak Diabetes Center have a personal connection to the condition, whether through someone they love or their own diagnosis.
Educating families about Type 1 diabetes with experience
Eric Davenport, R.D., L.D., CDE, works closely with children and families as a certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian. Having Type 1 diabetes himself, he knows the effects it can have on growing children.
“Diabetes has shaped me to be the person I am today, and even with everything that comes with it I am grateful for the positive attributes it has given my life,” Eric said. “It is because of my diabetes connection that I am able to empathize and quickly build a relationship and trust with patients. I love being able to bond with our patients on a deep level and understand their situation personally.”
Much of Eric’s work with children and families includes helping them with diabetes management. Diabetes management has many facets, including checking blood sugar, insulin delivery and counting carbohydrates — the last of which, he says, comes down to “annoying math.”
“Diabetes management involves many things, and it is easy to view these things as a burden,” Eric said. “But it is because of these tasks that diabetes has ultimately made me stronger. [Type 1 diabetes] empowered me to take ownership of my life and attitude, and has given me a reason to strive for healthy living.”
Pediatric endocrinologists with Type 1 diabetes credit their condition for their careers
Ryan J. Dyess, M.D. has embraced Type 1 for most of his life since his diagnosis at age 9. Dr. Dyess is the Norah Price fellow in pediatric endocrinology at Norton Children’s Hospital. After earning a degree in computer science, he began thinking about medical school. He was using technological advancements in Type 1 diabetes care in his personal life, and he wanted to be a part of a movement to improve the lives of people with Type 1 diabetes.
Norton Children’s Endocrinology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine
Wendy Novak Diabetes Center offers specialized care for children and young adults with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
“The advancements in diabetes technology are tremendously exciting and have allowed me to improve my diabetes control while decreasing disease burden,” Dr. Dyess said.
Paul S. Hiers, M.D., also lives with Type 1 diabetes. The pediatric endocrinologist he saw encouraged him to attend diabetes camps as a counselor. Residential diabetes camps such as Camp Hendon, a camp affiliated with the Wendy Novak Diabetes Center, allow children to have community with other children and adults living with and managing diabetes. Camp counselors are teens and adults living with diabetes and can share their experiences to help others going through similar experiences. At camp, children get to shed some of the feelings of isolation that can accompany managing a chronic condition as their peers and counselors are all managing the condition, too.
“Without going to diabetes camp, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Dr. Hiers said.